Our Crack Tongue & Groove
What fresh hell is this?
There are many definitions of what socialism actually is, but I’ve always rather liked the legendary Liverpool manager, Bill Shankly’s, take on it: “The socialism I believe in is everyone working for each other, everyone having a share of the rewards. It’s the way I see football, the way I see life.” I think it’s fair to say that Hasbro, the makers of ‘Monopoly: Socialism’, haven’t looked to Shankly to inform their new version of this inexplicably popular game. “Everyone loves the tofu-chip cookies you made in honour of Karl Marx’s birthday”, reads one card. Another references the “homemade granola you brought for lunch”. Indeed, the whole game has a weird obsession with food. It’s as if it has been put together by someone who has reached for ‘The Daily Mail’s Guide To Politics’, flicked through to the entry on ‘Socialism’, and found a picture of a vegan meatloaf. The irony is, of course, Monopoly was originally inspired by ‘The Landlord’s Game’, a board game created in 1904 by Elizabeth Magie who wanted to say something about wealth inequality in an entertaining way. Her patent was picked up by Parker Brothers in 1935, but the game lost its connection to Magie’s critique of greed. Indeed, it taught subsequent generations to leap around the room and raise a cheer when players couldn’t afford to pay the rent. But will ‘Monopoly: Socialism’ lead to more political iterations of the game? Will we see ‘Monopoly: Brexit Party’ (“You have come last in a beauty contest”), ‘Monopoly: Liberal Democrats’ (“Take a Chancers card”) or ‘Monopoly: Fascism’ (“Go straight to jail, do not pass Goebbels”)?